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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oroville Dam

California Pumped Power and Harvey's Bomb
Oroville Dam is at the upper left, Helm's Creek Pumped Power Plant is at the lower right.
There is trouble at the Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in North America. A claim like 'the tallest' cannot go unchallenged, so I check, and yes it is the tallest. Not the biggest, or widest or most expensive, but the tallest, and it's made out of dirt. There is also an underground pumped power station there. Hey, wait a minute, didn't an underground power station figure in the story about the bomb at Harvey's Casino at Lake Tahoe? Yes, it did, but it's a different one, the Helms Pumped Power Station, 200 miles to the Southeast.

As you can see from the map the Oroville site is much closer than the Helms Creek site, so why did John Birges go to Helms Creek to steal his dynamite instead of Oroville? Probably because construction had finished at Oroville ten years earlier but was ongoing at Helms Creek. It would have been more likely to find dynamite at an ongoing construction site.

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